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tv   Tech Know  Al Jazeera  December 24, 2015 11:30am-12:01pm EST

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more than 200 beatles songs are now available for free. the band members wish their fans a happy christmas as the announcement was made. more details on many of our stories can be found on our website, aljazeera.com. about innovations that can change lives. we're going to explore the intersection of hardware and humanity and we're doing it in a unique way. this is a show about science by scientists. let's check out our nerds. dr shini somara is an engineer. tonight cars learning to communicate with each other. can cars equipped with electronic smarts reduce accidents and increase safety.
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we hit the streets and road test this new technology. >> oh, i did not do that. dr crystal dilworth is a molecular neuro scientist. today not your average science project. meet the high school student who's extracuricular activity has scientists and others singing her praises. and i'm phil torres. i'm an entomologist. that's our team, now let's do some science. [ ♪ music ] hey, guys, welcome to "techknow". i'm phil torres, joined by shini somara, and dr crystal dilworth.
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every year 30,000 americans are dying on the roads. this is still happening despite things like safety belts and airbags and active safety systems. shini, you looked at technology that may give us a crashless future down the road. >> yes, 30,000 faltalties is a -- fatalities is a shocking statistic, some caused by impaired driving. of the remainder, 80% could be avoided using this technology. i went to ann arbor to check it out. let's take a look. [ ♪ music ] >> reporter: ann arbor pammela micheo, a quintessential college town, home of the university of michigan and its transportation research institute where they are developing and testing the future of driving. >> i'm trying to kill him. >> reporter: that was a genuine
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alert that you were about to collide into a car in front. the city is a big field test for vehicle to vehicle or v2v, a fleet of vehicles talking to each other electronically. you say the vehicles are talking snag. >> in a small range, 200m, the vehicles are sending out messages 10 times a second showing position, speed and the instantaneously. >> reporter: peter sweatman is a director of the study. >> we found that the technology works, the users like the technology. it's aimed at safety and all the testing is showing that it's highly effective. >> v2v works by surrounding each vehicle with a wi-fi-like system called dedicated short-range communication, and it shares data, calculating danger and warnings. like when there's a car you
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can't see unexpectedly breaking, or when it's not safe to pass a slower car, or when a car is in a blind spot during a lane change. >> unlike driverless cars that allows vehicles to drive autonomously. v2v is an early warning system for human drivers, keeping them safer on the roads. >> i'm downloading the data off a vehicle we have equipped with some vehicle to vehicle communication devices. it's showing interactions that this vehicle had with other vehicles in the study, that are in the anash our area. >> reporter: each car connected like? >> as it happens, we have a device like this. messages? >> yes, that's correct. we need a g.p.s. unit in the vehicle. that's pretty common these days in vehicles. so the
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technology itself is inexpensive, small and light. >> reporter: the research done here is studied by the department of transportation to some up with mandatory guidelines for v2v to be in all new cars. i wanted to experience v2v in a real-world setting. i asked the programme manager to drive me around ann arbor in the v2v demonstration van. hi debbie, great to meet you. >> nice to meet you, shini. >> reporter: tell me about the technology in the vehicle. >> this is our demonstration vehicle. we have it equipped with three afterdevices, and they transmit a message from vehicle to vehicle. >> reporter: can we see them in action? >> absolutely. each vehicle has a dedicated short-range communication radio.
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we are transmitting a basic safety message, the vehicle's speed, position and heading. then we compare that to our own vehicle and do a threat assessment and warn the driver accordingly. >> reporter: so that forward collision was because the car in obstacle. >> typically an mergee electronic brake -- emergency electronic brake like tells me, the driver, that one is braking, and not just braking, braking hard. panic braking. it may not be in the lain in front of me -- lane in front of me, but one of the leaps. >> along with v2v there's vehicle to infrastructure, where cars with sensors. >> we have a cautionary warping to say there was a kerb again curve. >> is that v to i. >> v 2 i. the position of the curve, the curve exit and points along the curve and the speed.
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it knows when to give me a warning. the cautionary is easy. hey, there's a warning up ahead. you don't want to do it 3 miles away, you want to do it when you are into range. >> reporter: the timing of the delivery of that information is crucial, isn't it? >> yes, because you don't want to alert a driver to brake too soon or too late because if you do, you get into nuisance alarm. if you warn the driver all the time it's a nuisance, and when they get a real alert they'll not pay attention. >> reporter: so the data you collected does it significantly improve safety. >> we found the technology works, they like to get the warnings coming from the awareness. >> reporter: originally when it comes to car safety you think of seat belts and protecting people if there's a crash. crashes. >> we believe that the future will be
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avoiding crashes, and this particular technology, v2v is probably the most powerful we have come across in terms of avoiding crashes. >> so these are ice warnings. >> reporter: we know that's simulated because it's 80 degrees outside. >> exactly. . >>. >> so, you know, 80 degrees, and we get an ice warning. it felt strange. it demonstrates the usefulness of this technology because in those senses we can transmit whatever message is current at the time. technology. >> that's why they are doing research now, to fix that and not indicate ice when it's sunny. >> yes, and actually tell you moment. >> i can see how the alerts would be useful. are they distracting when you
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drive? . >> i expected them to be annoying, but i found them useful. i was a passenger. but coming up in part two, i get to drive. >> so they trusted you behind the wheel. >> they did. break. >> we want to hear what you think about these stories. join the conversation:
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hey, welcome back to "techknow." shini, you are showing us technology where cars are communicating
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with cars and infrastructure like stop light to make our driving experience safer, and now they let you behind the wheel. >> yes, i got to test drive a car with a v2v system, and the challenge was to drive as badly as possible. >> how did that go? >> i'll let you decide. let's take a look. >> reporter: so this is quite a blind spot, isn't it, because... >> you can't see past the tall bush there. it's hard to tell when traffic is coming by. >> reporter: tricky to paul out. a dreary day at general motors in warren, michigan gave me a dose of reality to test drive the v2v. >> as a drive, when you can't see the road you edge forward. i'll do what i would naturally do - edging forward. [ beeping ] coming. >> that's an advantage of v2 v.
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it works if you driver can't see approaching vehicles. >> reporter: general motors is one of nine major car-makers working together to make v2v a reality, an unusual teaming in a normally competitive industry. >> my car and a g.m. vehicle needs to take to a toyota or ford or hyundai. and they need to send the same message. it can't happen if we develop this separately. >> reporter: john had a hand in building g.m.'s current crash avoidance system. alert systems exist in higherened cars. what is -- higher end cars. what is different about v2v. >> cadd lacks have six raid areas, two cameras. they are not enough to see you. v 2 v fills in the gaps and let's you have more information to address the driving
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situations that are challenging. >> reporter: and challenging situation is is what i got from the test drive from v2v researcher donald grim. i'll be more reckless. >> okay. push the envelope. >> reporter: my last chance. whoah. [ beeping ] >> reporter: agh. what is a car doing stationary in the middle of my run way. do you know what, i don't tend to look at that display. >> that's not meant to focus on, it's informational. did you see the scrolling red? really the alert that provides you, you know, the intended responses on top of the dash. it's important because for these type of alerts, we want to direct the person's attention, you know, to the road. so an alert that is high up within the driver's line of site is optimal. >> reporter: what is the maximum
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distance between cars? >> it depends on sort of the environment. if you are in a wide open space where signals are not really diminished by other vehicles or buildings, you potentially can communicate up to 1km. >> . >> reporter: nntly driving along a road and the car in front provides information about the conditions of the road ahead. >> yes. >> reporter: i slowed down as a result of that warning, saving the tyres, suspension. >> money. front. >> a dangerous encounter is a vehicle and pedestrian. >> reporter: lose of life. >> we call pedestrians vulnerable road users. they need extra protection. information. >> to avoid pedestrians, g.m. is
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testing out a smartphone act, exchanging signals between phone and vehicle. >> pedestrian ahead. >> just like that. >> reporter: wow. i would have driven straight through that. >> there'll be lots of applications when cars get v 2 v technology. >> that is information between two cars. what happens when every car is kitted out with this technology. wouldn't the system be overloaded with information? >> that's a technical challenge, where we need to develop a security system to make sure that unwanted messages don't get send between vehicles. we think it's possible to get to a point where crashes won't happen. it will take a while to get there. >> reporter: i suppose me drying - i'm supposed to be driving recklessly. the test is drive as badly as you can.
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well donald, we made it back. >> in one piece. >> reporter: yes. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> reporter: i'm surprised we're alive. it's great. >> not too bad. >> reporter: nice to meet you. >> nice to meet you too. obviously this is still in the testing phase. when do you think we'll see it used in production cars? >> you know, not for a few years. i mean, there's so much data generated here. 40 billion data points already. that's a lot of information to be processed. once it is processed they are hoping that brand new cars will have the system installed and it will be mandatory. >> what about all cars like mine, if i want to participate and have v2v technology. >> you can do that. it takes two simple gadgets, v2v and the antenna. >> the amount of data changed through this box is incredible. but it looks so such.
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>> it looks like my wi-fi router and a shark fin you put on top of your carrism. >> and this is affordable. >> that's the beauty of this, it can be after market. so many safety innovations you have to build it in from the grouped up. this you can put in there. it's amazing. >> the strength of the technology is in everyone using it. that won't be for a few years. >> it protects challenges. i love the -- presents challenges. i love the idea of cars ahead sending a signal to my car. with so many cars on the road, if they are all talking to each other, how does my car know which one to listen to? >> that's where the science comes in because you need to know when to give the warning. you don't want to the give it too early and people ignore and, or too late and you find yourself in a collision. that was my favourite warning,
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the car in front experienced a deep pothole, be fair. . everywhere -- be careful. other. >> is this like a black box, if back. >> no, there's no record. the strength of this is it's cars talking to each other. >> it's very much in the moment. >> yes, very much in the moment, and providing a warning system of what lies ahead. >> we are hearing about driverless cars. technology? >> the v2v technology is a step before driverless cars. we need v2v technology to enhance the concept of cars. v2v is real. it's tested. there are 3,000 cars on the road with this technology. one day, what they develop and create will feed into the scenes of driverless cars. drive.
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>> coming up after the break. something that is near and dear to your heart. the idea of stem. >> absolutely. i'll introduce you to an up and coming rock as far as a stem field, science, technology, engineering and maths. she's a high school student and about to make huge corrections to science. >> i love it. we'll check it out next. >> "inside story" takes you beyond the headlines, beyond the quick cuts, beyond the soundbites. we're giving you a deeper dive into the stories that are making our world what it is.
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[ ♪ music ]
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hey, welcome back to "techknow", i'm phil torres, and with me is shini somara, and crystal dilworth. crystal dilworth, i never see you more excited than when talking about young women doing amazing things in science. >> absolutely, nothing makes me happier, with a young woman challenging the stereotypes. i'm excited to introduce you to a girl, petra grutzik, a finalist at the intel international science and engineering festival. she is making contributions to my field, neuroscience. let's take a look. >> my name is petra, i'm 18. i'll go to stanford university. when i found i qualified for isef it was unbelievable. my promote was about birds, fimption. they -- finches, they learn how to sing like we learn to talk using foxp2. it's involved in speech
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development in humans and songbirds. scientists can study foxp2 in songbirds and learn about it for humans. this is my love in the life sciences building at u.c.l.a. >> reporter: petra is part of a team investigating foxp2. it's the on single gene that when mutated results in human speech and language disorder. dr nancy day was interested in reaching out to young women and helping to train them in science. >> we have excellent undergraduates at u.c.l.a. , but petra. >> she plays songs on her perch. >> she brought some of her background from working in robotics so we could have a cage that would serve a multitude of functions. that is her cage. to have petra's promote recognised above and beyond that was beyond my
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imagination. >> so my parents, mum and dad, have been unbelievably, incredibly inspiring. dad, since i was superlittle would take me to lectures at caltech and encourage me to ask questions. i am really active at school. i'm the president and founder of a club called red talks. like a mini version of the ted talks. we invite speakers to come in and talk about what they do, how they got to where they are, and what it's like to be a researcher. i got the opportunity to meet professors and it's amazing to meet amazing whim like dr white and dr jay. it enabled me to see myself in a lab. it unables me to see myself in -- enables me to see myself in science when i grow up.
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so, first of all, she was amazing. secondsly, when you see an example of someone like petra, what stands out to you? >> what struck me is not only that she was a bright individual, but the importance of mentorship and role models. her father took her to science lectures when she was young, she had great female roll models, and role models and mentorship are important to keeping women in stem field. we have a disparity between men and women with degrees in stem fields. you see drop-offs of women that are able to ascent to a c.e.o. of a tech company or getting a teenure professorship. role models is a factor to retaining women. >> did you have a role model for your ph.d. ? >> my role model was my dad,
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which is what i related to when it came to petra. what instruct me about her was her passion for her subject and her enthusiasm. i don't remember at the aim of 18 being that -- aim of 18 being that clear about what i wanted to do this science. it was inspiring. >> what i can relate to is not just the passion about the science, but the aryanism, she -- organism, she seemed to love the birds. that was me at that age. i can relate to being passionate about a creature and using it as aol. >> i love the way she was fascinated by the animal. i was fascinated by the way she used robotic knowledge to enhance her research, it's a work. >> and an example of where science research is going. it's so cross-disciplinary, being an expert in one is not enough any more.
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it's great to see someone starting at stanford. he she has that handle. >> for viewers, young women waiting to get into science or mentors, what advice do you have? >> don't think because you are not at university, that you can't get in there and participate. ask your science teachers that you have in your middle school or high school as many questions as you have, and ask them for additional resources. they'll be able to help you to educate yourself. i would say stick to what makes you curious. her curiositity came across, that's why she's so good at what she does. she has a natural inquisitiveness. >> and fortunately he had the enablers along side her to push her to get to the level and is doing amazing stuff. both of you are amazing examples of breaking those boundaries of
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stereotypes of what scientists should look like or be passionate about or do on a daily basis. you guys are so great. crystal, what do you have there? >> i have here a picture of the shoes that i wore for graduation when i received a ph.d. in chemistry from chemical engineering from caltech. you don't have to apologise for being female in a tech field. >> those are to die for. i want. >> i wanted to make a statement. you can see more sparkly scientist is shoes and pictures from us in the field if you follow us on twitter and instagram. that's it for this week, amazing stuff. thank you for your stories, and you can see more like it next time an "techknow".
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[ gunfire ] the battle for ramadi. the iraqi army says it is close to recapturing the strategically important city from isil. ♪ hello, there, i'm felicity barr. and you are watching al jazeera, live from london. also coming up, palestinians prepare for christmas day in bethlehem with continued violence in the occupied west bank. storms and tornados sweep through parts of the u.s. causing several deaths and travel chaos. plus -- ♪

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